Chapter 3. From ornament to armament

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Queen Elizabeth I is recognised as a monarch for whom language was anessential tool in the construction of her authority and the maintenance of herrule. This can be seen directly through her state communication e.g. parliamentaryspeeches, or more indirectly in her activities in literary translation andpoetry undertaken throughout her life and reign. This paper explores two earlyexamples of her epistolary writing – a letter to her stepmother, Queen KatherineParr (1544) and a later epistle (written in 1554) to her sister, Mary I – to explorehow the pre-accessional Elizabeth developed these skills in rhetoric and literarystyle. It combines a literary stylistic approach with Renaissance rhetoricalconcepts to describe and evaluate how the epistolary language achieves identityand inter-personal work, and how this can be seen to inform Elizabeth’s laterepistolary practices as queen.


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